For you visual/auditory learners, above is a video of me sharing the contents of this email. Yikes! Can't believe I'm doing that.
Ok, and for you avid readers out there-- read on:
Holy cow, never have I missed my students more than right now! I really would do nearly anything to be able to see all your faces live and in the flesh, but for the foreseeable future, we're going to have to settle with the virtual realm.
Your senior teachers (Sara, Kyle, Ande, Kurt and I) all met via google hang out this morning and discussed next steps with senior project. I am writing to share with you the most pressing next steps and then you'll hear from us later this week with more specific guidelines regarding action project and TED Talks.
The most important thing right now is that we're all staying as connected as possible and that we find a sense of purpose, structure, and routine to our days to help us get out of bed in the morning and not just because you're addicted to coffee but because you have something real and meaningful and of use to yourself and others to accomplish.
And so, before I dive into the logistics, here are some words of inspiration:
On the topic of purpose.....
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
On the topic of connection....
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville
At a time when we may all be feeling a heightened sense of anxiety, coupled with social distancing, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your own personal concerns. This is, of course, natural. However, the following quote resonates with my own experience of overcoming personal fears by focusing on other people: “Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”- Daniel Goleman
And for you avid existentialists out there (Remember reading The Stranger junior year??)
John Krakauer author of Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air among others, recently posted an Instagram post that read, and I quote: "To calm your mind as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates, I recommend this novel...[The Plague] by Albert Camus, published in 1947, even though it’s a grim read. As the philosopher Alain de Botton explained in a recent New York Times Op-Ed, plague or no plague, each of us is always at risk of sudden death: “This is what Camus meant when he talked about the ‘absurdity’ of life. Recognizing this absurdity should lead us not to despair but to a tragicomic redemption, a softening of the heart, a turning away from judgment and moralizing to joy and gratitude. ‘The Plague’ isn’t trying to panic us, because panic suggests a response to a dangerous but short-term condition from which we can eventually find safety. But there can never be safety — and that is why, for Camus, we need to love our fellow damned humans and work without hope or despair for the amelioration of suffering. Life is a hospice, never a hospital.” Hit this link for or a brilliant, highly entertaining video by de Botton about Camus.
OK! Now to the logistics
1. Senior Thesis
We have divided the senior class into 5 groups, each assigned to one senior teacher. These "cohorts" will change once we know what your senior project will be. For now, one senior teacher will be contacting you to schedule a conference call to check in about where you are at with your senior project idea and whether or not it is still viable given coronavirus precautions. The calls need to happen this week or early next week. We want to make sure you all stay safe and are able to complete a meaningful action project at the same time. If that means we need to help you modify or reinvent your project, we'll make that happen! Do not stress. We will not let you guys fail.
3. TED Talks
These will still happen in some format and still be worth 30% of your overall Humanities grade (remember, interim deadlines were worth 20%, Final Thesis 50% and TED Talks 30%. Action project is pass/fail). More info to come on this in the coming weeks.
4. Grade-Level Math....
...is now done. If you are failing, check-in with Kyle and you will be allowed to make-up missing work.
5. Where to go for all Senior Project-related resources?
All seniors should now track MY DP for all senior project documents and updates. I'll be posting relevant documents on the Senior Project page and including all updates/email announcements, etc... in the Daily Blog section. For instance, this email will be posted under the title "March 23rd Email Announcement" on the blog.
Phew! That covers it for now. None of us know what the next weeks or months will look like and so we will have to practice patience, perseverance, adaptability and resilience. These are all things you, as seasons Ospreys, hold in spades. You're going to crush this pandemic and I know so because we're going to do it together.
We got this, Ospreys.
Ashley, Sara, Kyle, Kurt, Ande
Humanities teacher at Animas High School